The Presidents: from JFK to Obama

David Burnett Barack Obama and Michelle 2013An Australian Centre for Photography Travelling Exhibition, The Presidents: from JFK to Obama by Leading American photojournalist David Burnett, will be on display at Gasworks Arts Park from 7 June 2016.

David Burnett is one of the very few photographers to have images of all US Presidents since JFK. When he was seventeen his mother took him to see the 35th President (JFK) speak less than two months before he was assassinated on November 22, 1963.

From John F. Kennedy, to Lyndon B. Johnson, to Richard M. Nixon, to Gerald Ford, to Jimmy Carter, to Ronald Reagan, to George H. W. Bush, to Bill Clinton, to George W. Bush, to the 44th President, Barack Hussein Obama, Burnett has witnessed the changing political landscape of the United States of America.

American political figures and events are embedded in our consciousness. From iconic statesmen such as JFK to the downfall of Richard Nixon and the significance of America’s election of Barack Obama, these moments of history have reverberated around the world.

These images aren’t what you’d normally see. They are raw, intimate moments from history. The behind the scenes images have captured people being people, not the shiny well-rehearsed robots we normally get. Burnett’s images are markers of time and provide a fascinating, up-close and unique perspective.

“David Burnett’s portrait exhibition The Presidents: JFK to Obama places the audience at the intersection of history and current affairs, with a new US president to be elected this year,” says Tamara Jungwirth, director and CEO of Gasworks Arts Park. “The exhibition is significant as it captures the immediacy of unguarded moments, its candid settings are beyond those usually photographed, and its timeline spans six decades.

“At the same time it is still intimate enough to be displayed and viewed in the heritage charm of our Foyer Gallery. I’m sure many people in Melbourne have strong memories of significant moments in their lives where they have been connected to events relating to one or more of the US Presidents, and they will enjoy the opportunity to immerse themselves in this impressive collection.”

Burnett began working as a freelancer for Time, and later for Life magazine in the 1960s. Burnett became the last photojournalist to cover the American war in Vietnam for Life. Since then he has worked in over 70 countries and co-founded Contact Press Images in 1976 with Robert Pledge.

His work includes politics, sports and portraiture and he was recently named one of the ‘100 Most Important People in Photography’ by American Photo magazine. His many awards include the Robert Capa Gold Medal, multiple World Press Photo Awards and World Press Photo of the Year.

The Presidents: from JFK to Obama
Foyer Gallery – Gasworks Arts Park, 21 Graham Street, Albert Park
Exhibition: 7 – 26 June 2016
Free admission

For more information, visit: for details.

Image: David Burnett, President Barack Obama and wife Michelle take a brief break for ice cream after speaking at a campaign rally in Davenport, Iowa, 2013. Courtesy and © the artist.